UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- The World Food Programme ( WFP) is expanding its food assistance inside Syria to reach 2.5 million people in the coming months, as the political crisis and violent conflict continue in the Middle East country, a UN spokesman said here on Friday.
"With that expansion, the agency will need nearly 160 million U. S. dollars to cover the cost of its Syria operation up to June this year," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said at a daily news briefing.
"This past Wednesday, the World Food Programme dispatched an additional load of 62 tonnes of food -- enough for 10,000 people -- to Al-Hassakeh city and Al-Shaddadi district in northeast Syria," Nesirky noted.
"That delivery followed reports of new waves of displacement, which brought hundreds of families to the area after intense fighting," he added.
As the situation in Syria reached a bloody stalemate, the WFP recently said that about 40,000 people had fled heavy fighting between the armed opposition and the government army in the eastern town of Shaddadeh in Hasaka province.
Last week, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay estimated the overall death toll from the 23-month Syria crisis at nearly 70,000.